One Crowded Hour

Sometimes music appears.  If the planets are aligned perfectly, cosmic consciousness cooperates, and your electronic equipment is operational, this music can become a transitional soundtrack for where you are at a particular point in your life.

That happened a couple weeks ago.  While i was playing in Greece, a lovely and generous couple from Australia decided i needed a particular CD.  When i returned home, Augie March “Moo, You Bloody Choir” arrived in the post.  And it has been on continuous rotation ever since.

The opening track, in particular, has lodged itself in my brain.  “One Crowded Hour”…  have a listen.  And be sure to stop by over at YourZenMine.  One couple, two points of view, and 365 days of music reviews.  They’ve rattled me out of my ‘same old’ music rotation.  Proving that you’re never too old to listen to something new.

Let’s Make a Deal

It gave me some satisfaction to hit the ‘ignore’ button on my phone as i pounded pedals down the bikeway last night.  My niece, DQ, had called a few times, failing to leave a message.   That usually means she’d prefer to ambush me…

Apparently her mother, my sister, S, had let her know i’d enquired about having a brainstorming session to see if we could figure out a way to get the renovations on Mom’s house moving again, and get Mom settled into her new digs before she dies.   She’s 82, and in poor health.  Circling the drain?  Ya think?

For over a year, Mom has lived on a twin bed, parked in my niece’s living room.  It was to be temporary, while DQ’s husband BJ renovates Mom’s house next door, and builds an addition on the back with a nice new apartment for Mom, and a master suite for DQ and BJ.

This is a lot to ask of BJ, who is also on the hook to work and earn the cash to support his family.  Mom had laid out a budget for the renovation, and BJ worked on it nights and weekends – and when he didn’t have paying construction jobs.

Given DQs propensity to spend more money than he can shovel into the household, the guy has been working more than full time, and as a result, there has been no progress on the house for months.

Listening to Mom’s passive-aggressive complaints about the lack of privacy, being bored and housebound, and no idea when the house will be done during my weekly phone calls, i became pretty good at shoving that all aside and telling myself there was nothing to be done.  i reminded myself that this is the option Mom chose.

Seeing the whiny facebook updates from my niece, with her passive-aggressive complaints about having no privacy, being watched all the time, and dealing with a crabby old bat in her living room, i chalked this up to caregiver stress and that it was a means of venting her frustration.   i reminded myself that my niece volunteered to do this, and chose this option.  And was being compensated in the form of a virtually new house for her family.

So i have pretty much buried my head in the Trailer Park sandbox, and happily gone about living my life. Haven’t engaged much, nor have i been asked to get involved. 

Life was good.  i was even blogging for fun, instead of therapy!

The last post i put up about the Trailer Park was in June, and it was just an observational riff on my niece, DQ, spending money on a pink Smith & Wesson handgun, so she can be a fashionably armed redneck with her new ‘concealed carry’ permit.

Before that?  A couple of bits last April.  One, on the anniversary of my father’s death, reflecting on the things he missed out on over the past few years.  The other?  Keeping my two sisters from killing each other in another round of “she’s being mean to me!” as performed by alleged adults.

For the most part, other than my weekly phone call home, i haven’t really given it much thought.  But on Sunday, Mom was rather cranky, and i decided that it might be time to see if i could find a way to get things moving, without causing any problems.

Hence the e-mail i sent to my sister, S.  And the frantic (ignored) phone calls from my apparently agitated niece, DQ.  When i finally caught up with S by phone late last night, my eyes were opened to an unexpected twist to the Trailer Park melodrama.

S immediately informed me that any discussions regarding the situation with Mom and DQ should involve them.  i reminded her that i am appreciative that DQ is taking care of Mom, and am quite comfortable with DQ and BJ receiving compensation for all they are doing – just trying to figure out a way to get the house done before Mom dies.

For the hundredth time, i suggested we find additional resources, and either PAY BJ to finish it, or HIRE A WORK CREW for him, so it gets done more quickly.  Since Mom had spent about $50,000 purchasing 17 wooded acres in the country last year when the original plan was to build a lovely new home there, i have made no secret within the family of suggesting that this land be sold to finance accelerated renovations.

Once she was done with the defensive posturing, my sister danced around a bit, but finally said “Look, I probably shouldn’t tell you this – it really isn’t my place.  But Mom has made a deal with DQ and BJ to give them the land as payment for BJ working on the house.  That’s why she won’t agree to sell it.”

Two nanoseconds later, i came a bit unhinged.  i have brought this option up to my mother no fewer than a dozen times in the last few months – basically every single time she complained that things weren’t moving fast enough. NOT ONCE has she said “I’m not going to sell the land.  I want BJ to have it as payment for his work on the house.”

It would have been that simple.  S said that Mom was afraid i’d get mad, and it would cause trouble.  Trouble?  Far from it.  This little revelation has made my life far, far less complicated!

A big ol’ game of Trailer Park “Let’s Make A Deal”, done on the sly.  “Why hide it?” i asked my sister.  “Are they hiding something?  Embarrassed by it?”  It’s quite reasonable that there be compensation - i would have suggested to my mother she pay them after the work is done, rather than before, but it’s her business…

After my initial flash of anger and frustration with Mom’s failure to provide me with all of the information necessary to provide her useful advice, and to serve as her advocate, i found myself relieved. 

No more guilt.  There is nothing more for me to do.  Mom has signed up for this, and my niece has agreed to terms.  Neither the veiled complaints from Mom, nor the venting from my niece are going to keep me awake at night.

“The perils of benefactors.  The blessings of parasites.”*

Mom has made her bed.  She can now lie in it… It happens to be in the middle of her granddaughter’s living room.

~~~~~~~~~~~

* as always, i am reminded of the words of Joni Mitchell, from “Shadows and Light”.

Busted!

To say that my neighborhood is rather quiet at night is an understatement.  If i go out after 10pm to walk the dog, and i see lights on anywhere?  i assume there is a burglary in progress.  Crickets.  That’s all that’s going on, even on the weekends.

Returning home around midnight after suffering ‘Bad Local Theater”*, i was tired and just starting to lose my “happy li’l wine buzz”.  On his way out, my friend helped me extract myself from the zip-backed sundress i’d worn – right about the time i realized i still needed to let the dog out for “Last Pee”.

When The Girl is home, she has on more than one occasion returned home after getting off work at midnight, to find me standing in the driveway, with a leashed dog, wearing nothing but a long t-shirt.  She has complained that i could easily get caught – but i scoff at her prudish ways.

Since she’s out of town for the weekend, i decided to literally shake it in her face, and proceeded to hook the dog up on his leash, and head out through the garage door wearing nothing but my knickers.  My friend was laughing at my brazen hussery, as he headed for his car. 

Halfway down the driveway, between the two cars, i spotted headlights approaching around the corner.  Too close for me to make a run back into the open garage.  Besides, the dog still needed to pee, and would not be denied.  All hundred pounds of his full-bladdered dogness was pulling me down the driveway, and out into the open.

Having no recourse, i ducked between the cars as the approaching vehicle turned the corner.  My friend was at this point laughing hysterically, when i tossed him the end of the leash and hissed at him to wrangle the mutt for me.  The car passed by, just as the dog managed to get the leash tangled on the bumper of the car… forcing my friend to have to crawl under as well to disentangle the leash.

As luck would have it, i heard the garage door of my immediate neighbor opening.  Huh?  i never see these people during the day.  What the hell are they doing out after midnight on a Friday?

Since i wasn’t in the best vantage point, i heard a car door open, and my friend say “Hi”, after untangling the dog, and getting himself out from under the bumper of the car.  Young womans voice saying “Hi”.  Waiting until i heard the garage door going down again – rather than trust his call of “all clear” – i stood up again, generally no worse for wear. 

Apparently, my neighbors have a daughter.  A daughter who now thinks the people next door are insane.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* i may have to write this up.  Fortunately, i pre-gamed with enough wine that i giggled my way through two hours of a ‘first-ever’ performed play.  Unfortunately, i was probably too buzzed to remember much of what happened…

Women of The Rock

An orgy of luscious, long-legged and lean lesbitarians – playful nymphettes mincing about in the sand and sea.  Pillow fights and pedicures.  Baby oil and back rubs.  Sexy secrets shared in the dark.

That’s the fantasy image nursemyra, dolce and i played up for our recent holiday on the sunny island of Lesvos.

As the birthplace of Sappho, the poetess, the village of Skala Eressos has a long history with estrogen.  In recent decades, it has certainly evolved into a pilgrimage location for international lesbians.  Not just a place of historical significance, but a place where same-sex couples can hold hands and cuddle in public, without even the hint of a sideways glance of disapproval from passerby. 

The locals – Grecian families who have lived on the island for perhaps hundreds of years – don’t bat an eye.  They run the super market, bakery and retail establishments.  The sexual orientation of customers is of no concern.

During our stay, we easily developed connections with other guests at the apartments – due to the hospitality of the property caretakers.  Every morning, around 1015, we saw Liz, another guest, riding a borrowed bike into the village, swim fins sticking out of her backpack.  She never failed to invite us to join the group of women who did a daily “Swim to the Rock” – a short swim from a local seaside restaurant to a craggy rock in the sea.  And back*.

i was interested.  i used to be a swimmer, but did my swimming in chlorinated concrete pools.  Without waves.  No fish or sea urchins, either.  Living in the landlocked mid-west, opportunities to swim in the sea are fairly limited. 

Scuba diving is entirely different!  i have a 75 pound tank full of compressed air attached to my back.  i can breathe underwater that way.  Swimming in the sea?  Without a regulator?  That’s a bit different…  As much as i wanted to try it, i wasn’t sure how it would work.

But Liz continued to invite us.  Every morning.  i bought goggles in town – having been warned that a mask would be helpful to avoid grabbing a sea urchin upon arrival at The Rock.  Liz offered loaner fins.  The weather wasn’t entirely cooperative, as we had a couple of stormy days mid-week, and the swim was called off for safety.  By Saturday morning, i decided to try it.

Prepped like an East German lady-swimmer from the 1970′s, i was ready!

Only three of us swimming that morning – representing three continents.  Liz, from Australia.  Annie, from Scotland. And daisyfae, from the USA.  It just so happens that salt water makes you very buoyant.  D’uh!  i could very nearly float there and back with a light boost from the fins.  Slightly against current on the way out, it took maybe 15 minutes before we were hauling ourselves out of the sea onto The Rock.

Although it was far more of a psychological challenge than physical, it felt great to be there.  Grinning like a loon, the sun starting to climb in the sky and beat down on us, the taste of salt water in my mouth, absolute quiet except the sound of the sea gently splashing us and the rocks. 

The view of the village was a little different from offshore.  Always good to adjust your point of view from time to time.

Due to the assistance of a gentle on-shore current, we made it back in under 10 minutes.  Nothing spectacular as far as a workout, but i sure felt like i’d just completed a triathalon as i lumbered out of the water that morning.  Up the stairs, where i joined the non-swimmers, already having coffee.  A round of cheers as i sat down – they were fully aware that it was my first time…

Returning on Sunday for another go, it was a larger group.  Maybe eight of us – including swimmers from Iceland, Scotland, England, Australia and the US.  Certificates of indoctrination were presented to all of the newbies upon our return.  i was officially inducted into the “Women of the Rock Group”.

Sure. We played up the “Sapphic Erotica” angle of our visit to Lesvos.  And naturally, we spent some time stripped bare, soaking up sun, and playing in the sea.  There were pedicures.  And oh, the conversation!  Would have stilled the hearts of many mortal men! 

The reality of our week on Lesvos was not a lesbian fantasy romp.  Sisters.  Not born, but acquired.  For a week, a month or a lifetime.  The reality of that week was far better than the fantasy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* She emphasized that to be a member of the “Rock Group”, one had to swim out and back.  Hitching a ride on a kayak or raft for the return trip was unacceptable!

Letter to Creepy Gym Dude

Dear Mr. Sweaty Pants,

i was not checking you out.  i was waiting to see when you would take your sorry carcass, bad comb-over and inappropriate footwear to a different piece of equipment so i could use the fucking chest press.

If, however, i had been checking you out, your “Hey, Baby” come-hither smirk would have quenched any budding turgidity in my loins. 

On Wednesday, i will be back abusing my upper body.  This time, if you camp out on the machine for an extended period of time?  i will…  i will…. i will say something mean.  And quite possibly trip you with my nasty towel.  Or cry.

Sincerely,

grumpyfae

image found here

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Breaking News:  Have we found the culprit?  He may have just ratted himself out… If not?  Just a garden variety smartass…

Geek Love, Part 76

The air conditioner in my current junk car took a massive shit last week.  It’s been over 90 degrees, with matching humidity.  i’ve had to wear suits for a variety of work functions, driving from meeting to meeting. 

Giving a presentation with pit stains,  hair plastered to your head with salty perspiration, while giant globules of sweat dangle from the tip of your nose is a fantastic technique to use should you want to make sure no one hears a word you have to say.  My future career as a motivational speaker may have just hit a speed bump.

Arriving for a ‘beer lunch’ offsite strategy session with colleagues last Thursday, i squished noisily into my seat, yet again a human sweat molecule.  The guys listened while i ranted about the A/C crapping out at the worst possible time, and my continued rants about not wanting to put another dime into a car that i’ll be disposing of shortly.

Helpful Geek:  Hey, Glenn was just charging up the A/C on his clunker in the parking lot last week.  Bet he could fix you right up…

daisyfae:  Glenn?  Human Garbage Disposal Glenn?

Every office has one of these.  The guy who eats anything.  Complaining that his trousers are a bit tight, as he inhales Reese’s Cup Miniatures at the communal candy jar, arms spinning as if they are water-cooled factory robots.   We love him, and will on occasion test his gastronomical limits.

Two weeks ago, a funnel cake appeared on the admin desk.  Being a sugar-hound, i poked at it, but it was stiff as a corpse, and seemed like an odd thing to have at work.  Carnival fare.  Why was it here? 

Turns out, it was over a week old, and the guys put it out to see how long it would take before it disappeared.  There was wagering.  Invariably, it was gone by the end of the day.  Glenn ate it.  All of it.

So when they’d suggested that the quirky nerd-boy might be able to help me out, i was a little suspicious.  He’s got technical know-how, and is good at what he does, but i’d never have taken him for a gear head.  Catching him late morning – naturally, as he walked past my office towards the candy bowl – i asked if he could help.

From the cluttered floor of the back seat of his car, he produced a little pressurization rig, with a can of R134a-plus, and proceeded to show me how to do it.  Took all of five minutes, draining the can of refrigerant. 

Next week, i’ll be bringing him a replacement can, along with a bag of Reese’s Miniatures.  Fresh ones.

How to “Go Away” your own way

Is there anyone – ANYONE ON THE PLANET - who actually enjoys going away luncheons for departing colleagues?  Didn’t think so…

In my world, they are expected, and generally horrific, events whenever someone is promoted, moves to another group, or retires.  A low turnout is considered a “lack of love”, so if few respond to the announcement, management is out beating bushes to drum up attendance.

Having had to preside of many of these awful things when i was in management, i grew to hate them with the acrid fire of hydrofluoric acid.  And then some…

When i snuck away in the night changed jobs last year, i refused all attempts for a luncheon.  Organizational blasphemy!   i’d been there 27 years, and how could i dare deprive people the opportunity to wish me well? 

Fuck that.  Not my style.  These dinosaurs, they are tenacious, and i’ve fought it for over a year.  But pressure was on again – they played the “It’s bad for morale if you don’t let us do something” card, and i’d let them set up an informal event for later this month in the conference room.  i was even considering showing up for it…

Then my good friend, The Ninjaneer, sent out a party invitation.  He is changing jobs soon, and rather than leave the festivities up to a few well-intentioned suits, he is throwing his own party!  Deciding that this was a great way to take the monkey off my neck, back, shoulders and ass, he and i agreed to ‘tag-team’ it…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: Ninjaneer
Subject: Ninjaneer – Going Away Party

Well folks, after 24 years here – “working” in one branch or the other – it’s time for me to pursue other opportunities in my Golden Years.  To that end, I have taken a position with our Southern Group, located on the sunny (or oily) shores of the Gulf of Mexico. 

With sincerest apologies to J.R.R Tolkien (and somewhat less sincere apologies to everybody else), I paraphrase Bilbo Baggins at his “Long Expected Party”, and I offer that, “I like more than half of you twice as well as I ever thought I would and hope less than half of you like me less than I think I deserve”. 

Now I realize at this point, as you ponder whether that was a compliment or not (it was), I’m supposed to slip on a magic ring and immediately disappear, but that’s unlikely to happen given that 5 different Directors and a host of Branch and Division Management folks  have been trying to make me disappear for 24 years now with no luck either….

Most of you are aware that I have little use for “going away” lunches, but like hobbits, I DO have a particular fondness for parties.  And in keeping with that fondness for food, drink and merriment – I want to throw MY “Long Expected Party” for you folks.

Both the food and the drink are on me.  Here are the details:

Date: 11 Aug 10

Time: 1530 –  until my budget runs out

Location: The Bar Up The Street

I’ve arranged for food, and they will provide more wings as we need them until we’ve “filled out the corners” as a good hobbit would say….. 

I will have an “open bar” until, again, my budget runs out…..

So all of you Boffins and Bolgers and Bracegirdles and the rest of you please join me for great party!  No wizards or fireworks please.

- The Ninjaneer

PS:  If I’ve forgotten anyone that doesn’t loathe me, please pass it on - but remember, the more people there, the less free food and booze for the rest of you…

————————–

Subject: RE: Ninjaneer - Going Away Party — NOW, WITH ADDED “FAREWELL FOR DAISYFAE”

Of the 27 years i worked there, The Ninjaneer served as “The Little Brother* i Never Wanted” for 24 of those…  When he suggested we combine parties, it seemed appropriate to join forces one last time, and see just how nervous we can make the management team! 

We have a rather amusing history – and if you show up, be sure to ask us for the story of how we tested out of “Sexual Harassment Training” by doing a skit.  If you wait til we’re plastered?  We might even provide an encore performance!

Maybe now he’ll stop looking at me and STAY ON HIS SIDE OF THE CAR!  AND STOP TOUCHING ME!  MOM!  He stole my blackberry! 

Oh, yeah.  The party… 

Granted, i’ve been gone for just over 13 months, so my departure event is a little overdue.  That is not due to lack of effort on the part of Management.  i’ve just been a little evasive**.

There will be food.  And drink.  And “equally attractive non-alcoholic beverages”….  We are requesting the omission of gifts.  Unless it’s a very fast motorcycle.  For me.  Or a speedboat.  Also for me.

Date: 11 Aug 10

Time: 1530  – until our budget runs out (Note:  We can drink longer.  i make more $$ than he does.)

Location:  The Bar Up The Street

-daisyfae

* despite the fact that he is 1 year and 340 days OLDER than me…

** for those who have yet to notice, i left in June, 2009.  Like the Baltimore Colts, i went quietly in the night….

Momma don’t wanna go to the big house

Monday morning.  The weekly staff meeting starts at 0830.  All of the mid-level managers, and associated tech advisers, shuffle to the conference room.  Division Chief, or his Deputy, preside over the meeting with the communal goal to get out of there within 30 minutes.  If everyone is in town, it’s maybe 15 people.  We usually make it out of there within 30 minutes, unless there’s a lot going on – no one wastes much bandwidth.   
 
This morning, especially light attendance.  Peak vacation time means that the taskings and droppings from above are at a lull.  Of the 8 of us in the room, we were still slurping coffee, scratching and adjusting ourselves as the DivChief got things started.  Nothing heavy.  Summer organizational picnic is coming up.  Be sure to get your guys through the latest required training.  Light and fluffy.
 
These meetings conclude with a rapid fire “Around the Room”, where each of us have a chance to report anything that might be of interest.  Today?  The energy vibe was low and mellow, so there were grunts, head shakes, and a couple of short and sweet items.  We were in a low-frequency vibrational mode groove, for sure…. Humming right along… 
 
When it got to me, i had a short informational update.
 
daisyfae:  Boss and i are hosting a gathering for our summer interns – informal discussion of various student programs and whatnot.  It’ll be a ‘beer’ event, and we’d be happy to expand it to your students as well.  Will ship a quick note out when we lock down a date.
 
Tom:  Better check their IDs.  Can’t let any underage students sneak a beer on our watch!
 
daisyfae:
  Yep.  Jail is bad.
 
Greg:  Not all jail is bad… You could get something cushy, maybe a minimal security prison in a sunny location.
 
daisyfae:  True.  Three square meals a day, guaranteed hour of exercise, lights out at 10pm, library pass…  that’d be cool.  It’s just that roommate issue…
 
DivChief:  Hey, you could end up with Martha Stewart!
 
daisyfae [instant transformation from ‘mellow’ to ‘stabby’]:  Not happenin’.  i’m not knitting any stinkin’ ponchos for Martha Stewart!  i’d be likely to bust a shiv into her, screaming “IT’S NOT A GOOD THING!  I DON’T DO CUTE, DAMN IT!”
 
momentary silence in the conference room
 
DivChief [looking at Tom to my left]:  Tom?  Anything?

Image sourced here

Trading favors

As i came home from work, my daughter’s boyfriend, ZZ, came up the stairs with a rather serious look on his face.
 
ZZ:  Follow me.  There’s something I have to show you.
 
daisyfae [looking concerned]:  What happened?
 
ZZ:  Nothing – just follow me to the kitchen.
 
He then produced several styrofoam boxes from the refrigerator.
 
ZZ [smiling]:
I bought you and The Girl dinner!  Veggie burger for her, and wings and potato wedges for you!
 
daisyfae [stuffing face]:  Om nom nom….
 
ZZ:  Didn’t know what sauces you liked, so I got honey barbecue and mild sauce.
 
daisyfae [continuing to stuff face with bird wings]:  So… om… mmmmm…. [slurp], what is it you want? [snarf]  Do you want to sleep with my daughter?
 
The Girl:  Hey, are you negotiating my virtue in exchange for a dozen hot wings and some tater wedges?
 
ZZ:  Isn’t that called a dowry?
 
daisyfae: They are pretty good wings…
 
After i successfully bashed through dinner, The Girl and ZZ were preparing to head out for some grocery shopping.
 
ZZ:  Do you want us to bring back ice cream?
 
daisyfae:  What?  Are you trying to buy my favor?  BenAndJerry’sNewYorkSuperfudgeChocolateChunk.  What is it you want from me?
 
The Girl:  He’s trying to get into your pants.  Ice cream worked on me…

Tales from a Grecian Taxicab

The airport in Mytilene, Lesvos, Greece resembles a large aquarium with automatic doors.  It consists of a couple gates, a luggage delivery belt, and a few scattered kiosks for food and car rental.  There wasn’t an “information” booth to be found, however. 

Arriving from Athens at 0730, we claimed our luggage and assessed the best way to get to the long-distance bus station.  Our plan – if you could really call it that – was to hop the mid-day bus from Mytilene to Skala Eressos.  About 3 hours, according to our friends at The Lonely Planet.
 
Standing outside the airport, we found a bus stop.  No schedule.  Just a sign.  Fellow travelers from our flight had already headed out, and there weren’t many people around – so i asked a police officer about the bus to Skala Eressos.  She said “That is the only bus”, pointing at the sign.
 
We decided it might be wise to take a taxi to the bus station in town, so we dragged our luggage to the taxi stand.  En route, our driver asked about our destination.  He also asked what the bus fare would be.  We were so prepared that not one of us knew the answer, but we guessed about 18-20 Euro each.  Yeah.  Something like that….
 
Our driver offered to take us there for 100 Euro – explaining that the bus didn’t leave til afternoon, and he could get us there in an hour and a half, for only a little more per person.  Sold!  We were on our way, and it wasn’t even 0800!
 
Our driver, Manolis, asked about where we were from – Australia, South Africa and The States.  He mentioned that he’d lived in Boston for a long time, working near the docks.  “My favorite seafood place is on the docks in Boston!”, i said.  Turns out, he worked there – with some connection to the family who owns the restaurant! 
 
Manolis did a nice job of explaining the history of the island, describing the terrain, and discussing some of the local points of interest – without being an over-zealous pain in the ass.  He also did a damn fine job navigating some village street passages that were so tight i wanted to smoke a cigarette and change the sheets when we successfully emerged on the other side! 
 
Delivering us to our destination, he gave me his card – and said he’d be happy to pick us up for the return trip.  Our hosts assured us that 100 Euro was a good price for the journey, compared to what many other drivers quoted, so i saved his card. 
 
A week later, we had abandoned the plan to rent a car and do some sightseeing on the island on our way back to Mytilene.  That was too much like work.  We decided to give Manolis a call on Sunday and arrange for him to pick us up Monday at noon.  When i called, he said he couldn’t make it, but would send a driver for us.
 
Arranging the car for noon gave us plenty of time to regroup and devise an alternate plan should the driver not show up.  We were quite surprised when the taxi arrived at 1100 – while we were still packing!  Dolce was the best prepared, and hauled her luggage outside.  The driver told her that he wasn’t sure exactly where he’d been headed, so he left extra time.  She reported this back to us, and said that he had a pretty strong U.S. accent.
 
Nursemyra and i finished packing, and brought our bags out for loading.  The young driver, sporting a fine bit of designer facial hair and “faux-hawk”, did indeed speak with a thick accent – BOSTON!  He said he’d lived there until he was 10 years old.  George was the son of Manolis.
 
Far less talkative than his father, George entertained us with a ridiculous 1980’s techno-dance mix CD – providing moments of “holy shit, I haven’t heard that for years” interspersed with group sing-alongs as we made our way along the rugged road back to Mytilene.  Never mind that he had the driving skills of a Formula One racer!  He was quite helpful in getting us to our hotel, and offered to pick us up the following morning at 0620 to get us to the airport for our return flight to Athens on Tuesday.
 
It was during the ride to the airport on Tuesday that George asked me “So, how are things in The States?  I’m planning to move back there with my wife and son.”  In just fifteen minutes in the taxi that morning, he relayed a family tale as old as time.  His father wants him to stay and work with him in the family business, but the son wants to make his own fortune in the new world…   
 
He also shared that his parents were separated, his mother still extremely pissed off about it, and that he was constantly stuck in the middle of the arguments between them.  He’d had enough of it, so he was planning to bring Mom with him on his “fresh start”.  The plan?  Pack up his family – his wife and son had never left Greece – stay with cousins in Boston, find work until he could get his own business going.
 
i was touched by his optimism and bravery.  Also noted that despite all the crap that happens in the ol’ U.S. of A., that it still holds the promise of opportunity for a young man.  

But mostly?  i was touched by the tale he wove of family.  Defying cultures and continents.  Eternal tension.  Father and Son. 

How can I try to explain?  When I do he turns away again!  It’s always been the same, same old story. From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen, now there’s a way and I know I have to go away.

Note:  The video is dated, and pretty cheesy.  But that’s part of the point…  Recorded in 1970, the song holds the original power.  i was also reminded what an incredibly beautiful man Yusuf Islam is…  More recent version of “Father and Son”, recorded for the BBC One series, found here